RBCA expresses continued concerns about pedestrian safety on NE 65th Street

After attending the Seattle Department of Transportation’s December drop-in sessions to learn about planned safety-related changes to be made as part of the NE 65th Street Vision Zero project, RBCA board members agreed that not enough is planned for increasing pedestrian safety. Following is a letter RBCA sent to SDOT regarding our primary concerns.

Poster shared at SDOT drop-in session at Broadcast Coffee in December outlining changes planned to make NE 65th Street safer for all who use it.

Goran Sparrman
Interim Director
Seattle Department of Transportation

Dear Mr. Sparrman:

We were encouraged to preview some much-needed and overdue safety improvements to the NE 65th Street corridor at SDOT’s NE 65th Street Vision Zero drop-in sessions last month. But pedestrian safety at intersections and a lack of crosswalks, two of the neighborhood’s greatest concerns as determined in surveys by RBCA and SDOT alike, are not sufficiently addressed in the current proposal.

While the numbers of pedestrians counted crossing NE 65th Street between signalized intersections may not warrant the addition of marked crosswalks, SDOT’s 2017 survey data found that 85% of respondents considered lack of safe crossings a barrier to walking in the area. RBCA’s 2016 mobility survey collected similar feedback from residents. With additional crosswalks and curb bulbs, we will see an increase in pedestrians and with this increase will come greater safety.

Data included in the 2017 Vision Zero Progress report indicated that 60% of pedestrians killed in the last three years were 55 years of age or older and 80% of pedestrian collisions occur within or near our urban villages. Ravenna’s business district is within one block of two facilities that house close to 150 of our most vulnerable neighbors. A resident of one of those facilities was killed by a left-turning vehicle at 20th Ave NE and yet significant safety issues related to pedestrian visibility and right-of-way are not addressed in the current proposal.

In working toward our shared Vision Zero goals and to address pedestrian safety on NE 65th Street, we ask that SDOT consider the following:

• Painted crosswalk and curb bulbs at or near 21st Ave NE to emphasize common pedestrian crossing point for neighborhood businesses as well as the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center.
• Curb bulbs at NE 20th Street and No Right on Red signage to address severely limited visibility of pedestrians entering the crosswalk as well as signal to drivers to not enter the crosswalk, as they commonly do now.
• Left turn lights at intersections to reduce dangerous conflicts, particularly at 15th and 25th Avenues NE.

In addition, without left turn lights we are concerned that resulting backups will decrease pedestrian safety on side streets as a result of diverted traffic.

We would be happy to discuss these significant and widely-held safety concerns with you further if needed.

Respectfully,
Transportation Committee 
Ravenna-Bryant Community Association

What did RBCA do in 2017?

Two years ago, the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) adopted a vision to guide our activities: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood. Those descriptors help board members think about proposed changes affecting the neighborhood and what we want to do so that the vision becomes reality.

In 2017, the RBCA board conducted many activities to promote our vision. Following are a few highlights. The summary doesn’t capture everything, but provides an overview of activities that have been ongoing for years, activities that were specific to 2017, and activities that will continue into the new year and, possibly, years to come.

Annual meeting: In April, RBCA’s annual general meeting featured a speaker from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management who provided important information about preparing for an earthquake and other emergencies. This educational forum culminated a year-long emergency preparedness campaign conducted by RBCA, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, and community members that included community conversations and a “Task A Month” emails about items needed to build an emergency preparedness kit.

Neighbors gathered to learn about how to prepare for an emergency during RBCA’s annual membership meeting in April. Photo by Oralea Howard.

University Village garage: In June, the RBCA Land Use Committee held a community meeting to provide neighbors with an update about University Village’s plans for a 7-story garage on 25th Avenue NE and the opportunity for neighbors to give the developers input about the garage design. In September, the RBCA Land Use Committee submitted its second comment letter on the project to the Design Review Board (a first round of comments were made in December 2016). Two RBCA board members attended the September early design guidance meeting and gave public comments for the Design Review Board to consider. The comments focused on pedestrian and bicycle safety along 25th Ave NE and the need for developers in the area along 25th Ave NE to work together to make the connections between the neighborhoods and the Burke-Gilman Trail safer.

Drawing of planned University Village garage on 25th Avenue NE from the perspective of people walking south. Image from design review documents, Project 3025629.

#Fix65th Coalition: In February, the Seattle Department of Transportation launched a collaborative process to review street safety conditions along NE 65th Street. The NE 65th Street Vision Zero project was started in response to safety concerns highlighted by the #Fix65th Coalition, a collaboration between RBCA, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, and NE Seattle Greenways starting in 2016. In a mobility safety survey conducted by RBCA in 2016, speeding cars and difficulties crossing streets were top concerns among Ravenna-Bryant neighbors with NE 65th Street being mentioned most often as particularly dangerous for pedestrians.

After gaining public input about safety problems, SDOT implemented some quick improvements and shared with community members possible future safety improvements in May. After learning about SDOT’s plans, RBCA shared concerns in June and continued to highlight safety problems through recent drop-in sessions, communication with SDOT staff, advocacy with Councilmember Johnson, and awareness activities including participation in recent World Day of Remembrance events and ongoing posts to #Fix65th on Twitter.

In 2017, minor safety-related changes to NE 65th Street included re-painting crosswalk stripes at the corner of 20th Avenue NE, where an 89 year-old woman was killed in February. Photo by Oralea Howard.

Cell phone tower on NE 65th Street: A group of neighbors approached RBCA in the spring with concerns about an application by T-Mobile to affix a communication utility for cell phones on a Seattle City Light utility pole at the corner of NE 65th Street and 32nd Avenue NE, across the street from Assumption St. Bridget School. RBCA supported efforts made by Councilmember Johnson to increase transparency and forethought by public agencies such as City Light when notifying neighbors of proposed changes and seeking public comments.

Later in the year, RBCA advocated against Senate Bill 5711, an act relating to telecommunication services, and other bills restricting the power of municipalities to regulate in the public interest the location of telecommunication towers and facilities.

NE 50th Street sidewalks: For more than 15 years, RBCA has been advocating for sidewalks on NE 50th Street south of the Calvary Cemetery. Despite mitigation funds from University Village that they requested be used by SDOT for sidewalks on NE 50th Street; despite two Neighborhood Street Fund applications submitted by RBCA for the project; despite studies conducted by SDOT that show that people driving cars speed on this stretch of road; and despite ongoing advocacy by RBCA and community members, the neighborhood is still waiting for sidewalks.

This year, it came to RBCA’s attention that the sidewalk funds from University Village were to be diverted to another SDOT project. RBCA advocated with SDOT and Councilmember Johnson to ensure the funds remained earmarked for the project. RBCA board members testified during a City Council transportation committee meeting for the inclusion of sidewalks in the City of Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan.  Most recently, RBCA has been working with University Village to secure additional funding to fully fund the cost of installing sidewalks on 50th since current earmarked funds only cover about half of the project cost. RBCA plans to continue our advocacy efforts until there are sidewalks along this busy stretch of road that connects the University Village area to the Byrant neighborhood.

In 2016, the Seattle Department of Transportation developed this plan for adding sidewalks to NE 50th Street. In 2017, RBCA continued advocacy activities to make the plan a reality.

Outreach: RBCA board members continued to reach people through social media (Facebook, Twitter), our website, monthly emails, and flyers posted throughout the community. One of the goals of RBCA’s social media and website is to share information about what is happening in the neighborhood. Following are the posts that got the most attention in 2017.

Website: Plans for the University Village garage on 25th Avenue NE were of most interest to people who visited the RBCA website this past year. The top five most viewed posts in 2017 were:

  1. What would it look like to walk next to the proposed University Village garage?, September 2017 (6th most viewed post of all time)
  2. Early plans shared for development between 25th Avenue NE and Burke-Gilman Trail, July 2017 (8th most viewed post of all time)
  3. RBCA requests new U-Village garage be designed with community, pedestrians in mind, January 2017 (10th most viewed post of all time)
  4. Seattle crime in 2016, February 2017
  5. Design Review Board provides U-Village with design guidance for new garage, February 2017

Top 5 RBCA Facebook posts in 2017:

  1. A four-story indoor sports recreation center (Center of Physical Arts) is being proposed at 2510 NE Blakeley, September 2017
  2. Guests from the University of Washington will discuss the Husky Stadium Transportation Master Plan during the RBCA board meeting on Tuesday, November 2017
  3. RBCA requests new U-Village garage be designed with community, pedestrians in mind, January 2017
  4. What’s being proposed at the corner of NE 65th Street and 15th Avenue NE? A new apartment with 131 units and street-level retail, April 2017
  5. D4 Public Safety Open House flyer, August 2017

RBCA’s top tweets 2017 show how powerful a hashtag (in this case #Fix65th) can be:

  1. Remembering the 89 year-old woman struck by a pick-up truck & killed as she walked in the crosswalk at corner of NE 65th & 20th Ave NE 2/4/17. #WDR2017sea #WDoR2017 #Fix65th, November 2017
  2. Here’s a map of changes @seattledot is planning to #Fix65th. While improvements to existing painted crosswalks are welcome, neighbors are still concerned about pedestrian safety at unpainted crosswalks @CMRobJohnson., December 2017
  3. And again #Fix65th. (tweet included photo of the aftermath of the collision that killed the pedestrian in the crosswalk at 20th Ave NE), February 2017
  4. Unable to attend the @seattledot #Fix65th community forum last month? Take their online survey by tomorrow (3/14), March 2017
  5. It’s been great seeing so many neighbors engaged in the #Fix65th process! Couldn’t make it tonight? There will be another @seattledot drop-in session Thursday, 7-9am. Thanks @broadcastcoffee for hosting!, December 2017

Bylaws update: The RBCA board updated the association’s bylaws early in 2017. Changes include clarification regarding the role of the board and the role of the association as a whole; membership; the duties of the board; voting; and the role of committees.

RBCA is a volunteer-run organization with no paid staff. The RBCA board is always looking for people to participate in our monthly meetings, join committees, and pro-actively work on issues of concern in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. The board will continue to meet the first Tuesday of the month, 6:30 p.m. at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Anyone interested in sustaining a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood is encouraged to participate. Like our wider community, RBCA is strongest when neighbors come together and pro-actively work towards a common vision.

RBCA board meets Tuesday, January 2

RBCA Board Meeting
Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

Though this is a board meeting, all neighbors are welcome!

AGENDA

6:30 Welcome & Introductions

6:35 Seattle Workers for Justice Coalition

6:50 Executive Committee Reports

Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

President’s Report: 2018 Workplan

7:10 Annual Meeting

7:25 Bylaws Update

7:40 Land Use Committee
• UW Campus Master Plan

7:50 Transportation Committee
• #Fix65th
• NE 50th Street sidewalks

8:10 Reports from associated community groups
• City University Community Advisory Council – CUCAC
• Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Board
• Northeast District Council – NEDC
• North Precinct Advisory Council – NPAC

Learn about plans to make NE 65th Street safer during SDOT drop-in sessions

In November, community members came together to remember two of our neighbors who were killed while walking in crosswalks on NE 65th Street in 2017.

During World Day of Remembrance 2017, community members gathered to remember the two neighbors who were killed while walking in crosswalks on NE 65th Street this last year. One pedestrian, an 89 year-old woman, was struck and killed at the corner of NE 65th Street and 20th Avenue NE.

In response to the dangerous conditions for all people who use NE 65th Street to get around the neighborhood, RBCA, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association and NE Seattle Greenways formed the #Fix65th coalition in 2016 to advocate for safety improvements. The need for safety improvements continues to be evident as people continue to be killed and seriously injured in collisions involving drivers of motor vehicles on NE 65th Street.

In response, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) started a collaborative process to review safety on NE 65th Street with the goal of improving safety for all modes. They developed a proposed street design concept based on community input, citywide modal plan recommendations, and the results of their traffic modeling. They expect to start construction to implement improvements next summer.

The project is still in design and SDOT invites community members to participate in a drop-in session to see the latest for NE 65th Street. Stop by anytime during one of the sessions to learn about project progress, review materials, talk with project staff, and share feedback.

NE 65th Street Vision Zero Design Update Drop-In Sessions

Tuesday, December 12, 5-7:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 14, 7-9:00 a.m.

Broadcast Coffee

6515 Roosevelt Way NE

Updated agenda: RBCA board meets Tuesday, December 5

RBCA Board Meeting

Though this is a board meeting, all are welcome to participate!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

AGENDA

6:30      Welcome & Introductions

6:35      Union Bay Place developments

6:50      Executive Committee Reports

  • Secretary’s Report
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • President’s Report
    • New business: 2018 Workplan
    • Old business: Membership Chair vacancy

7:10      Committee Reports

  • Land Use Committee
    • *Mandatory Housing Affordability Environmental Impact Statement (MHA EIS)*

 *This item was removed from the agenda after RBCA board members requesting/leading the conversation indicated that they are unable to attend the meeting/requested that it be removed. 

  • Transportation Committee
    • NE 50th Street sidewalks
    • World Day of Remembrance message to CM Johnson
    • UW Husky Stadium Transit Master Plan
  • Bylaw Workgroup

8:10      Reports from associated community groups

  • City University Community Advisory Council – CUCAC
  • Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Board

 

Potential zoning changes in Ravenna-Bryant: 35th Avenue NE

On November 9, the City released its Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes proposed changes to zoning in four areas of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. Previous posts provided overviews of proposed changes to the part of the neighborhood closest to the Roosevelt light rail station, to NE 55th Street, and to the Ravenna NE 65th Street business district. This final post covers proposed zoning changes to 35th Avenue NE.

What is being proposed on 35th Avenue NE?

Currently, NE 65th Street from Bryant Corner Café to the east corner of 35th Avenue NE is zoned NC1-30, Neighborhood Commercial, 30 feet high. The City is proposing that the area be zoned NC1-40, allowing for 10 additional feet.

At the corner of 35th Ave NE and NE 70th, and at most of the corner at NE 75th Street, the City is proposing to change zoning from NC1-30 to NC1-40, adding 10 feet.

Between NE 70th Street and NE 73rd Street, land would change from LR2 to LR2RC, Lowrise residential-commercial, allowing for a limited amount of non-residential use at street level.

The most significant zoning change would happen on the southeast corner of NE 75th Street, where Safeway is located. The land is currently zoned NC2P-30 and would change to NC2P-55, adding potential for 25 more feet. The “P” in this zoning designation indicates that this is considered a pedestrian zone.

Map of proposed changes along 35th Avenue NE from NE 65th Street to NE 75th Street in Ravenna-Bryant.

Neighborhood Commercial areas are moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping areas that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood. Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments. Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.

Drawing courtesy of Department of Planning and Development (now the Department of Construction & Inspections.)

Between 2012 and 2015, the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, the Wedgwood Community Council, and neighbors from both communities worked together to develop a neighborhood plan, including  design guidelines, for supporting a pedestrian-friendly and vibrant business district along 35th Avenue NE. The City’s proposed zoning changes include a scaled-down version of what is recommended in the neighborhood plan, known as the Future of 35th Ave NE Plan. Information about the plan and all of the community input that went into its development is available at the project website.

What’s next?

The MHA EIS is now in the hands of the City Council. After considering the EIS and holding public hearings, they will take action in 2018. Amendments to the official zoning map, amendments to the text of the Land Use Code, and changes to maps and policies of the Comprehensive Plan will need to be made.

 

Potential zoning changes in Ravenna-Bryant: NE 65th Street

On November 9, the City released its Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes proposed changes to zoning in four areas of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. Previous posts provided overviews of proposed changes in the part of the neighborhood closest to the Roosevelt light rail station and about proposed changes to NE 55th Street. This post provides information about proposed changes to the Ravenna NE 65th Street business district and a final one will cover 35th Avenue NE.

What is being proposed on NE 65th Street?

Currently, many buildings on NE 65th Street between 20th Ave NE and 25th Ave NE are not as tall as they could be. For example, this building could be 3-4 stories under current zoning code.

The five block stretch along NE 65th Street from 20th Avenue NE to 25th Avenue NE is often considered “downtown” Ravenna. It is home to many places to eat and drink and health and wellness-related businesses. With a few buildings that include apartments, it is also home to many people.

Most of NE 65th Street in downtown Ravenna is zoned NCP2-40, Neighborhood Commercial Pedestrian up to 40 feet high. Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments. Non-residential uses typically occupy the front. 

In 2015, the area was rezoned a pedestrian area. In pedestrian zones, residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level, street-facing façade; buildings cannot have large blank facades facing the street; and parking lots on the site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. 

As part of the MHA program, the City’s “preferred alternative” for increasing zoning capacity would change the code for these properties to NC2P-55, increasing allowable height by 15 feet. 

In the middle of the block of Ravenna Avenue NE, between NE 65th Street and NE 68th Street and across from the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, land that is currently designated NC1-30 would change to NC1-40, increasing allowable height by 10 feet.

Map of proposed zoning changes to NE 65th Street between 20th Avenue NE and 25th Avenue NE from the City of Seattle’s HALA website.

What’s next?

The MHA EIS is now in the hands of the City Council. After considering the EIS and holding public hearings, they will take action in 2018. Amendments to the official zoning map, amendments to the text of the Land Use Code, and changes to maps and policies of the Comprehensive Plan will need to be made.

 

Potential zoning changes in Ravenna-Bryant: NE 55th Street

On November 9, the City released its Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes proposed changes to zoning in four areas of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. A previous post provided an overview of proposed changes in the part of the neighborhood closest to the Roosevelt light rail station. This post will provide information about proposed changes to NE 55th Street and future posts will cover proposed changes to the Ravenna NE 65th Street business district and to 35th Avenue NE.

What is being proposed on NE 55th Street?

Currently, from 25th Avenue NE to 30th Avenue NE, both sides of the street are zoned for Neighborhood Commercial 2, Pedestrian, 40 feet (NC2P-40). Right now, none of the buildings on this stretch of NE 55th Street are built as tall as they could be and many do not include commercial space. As part of the MHA program, the City is proposing that these properties be zoned NC2P-55, increasing the allowable  height by 15 feet.

Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments. Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.

Map of proposed zoning changes to NE 55th Street and NE Blakely Street from the City of Seattle’s HALA website.

Between 30th Ave NE and 33rd Ave NE, the land is currently zoned Lowrise 1 (LR1) and no changes are proposed.

From 33rd Ave NE to the alley next to La Villa, properties are currently zone NC1-30 and could be changed to NC1-40, adding 10 feet.

The corner of 35th Ave NE and NE 55th Street is currently zoned NC1-40 and could be changed to NC1-55.

Drawing courtesy of Department of Planning and Development (now the Department of Construction and Inspections.)

In addition to NE 55th Street changes, the map above shows proposed changes along NE Blakeley Street. Land that is now Commercial 1, 40 feet (C1-40) would become C1-55. Commercial areas are not only meant for businesses serving the surrounding neighborhood (like NC zones) but also those serving the wider city and regional clients.

What’s next?

The MHA EIS is now in the hands of the City Council. After considering the EIS and holding public hearings, they will take action in 2018. Amendments to the official zoning map, amendments to the text of the Land Use Code, and changes to maps and policies of the Comprehensive Plan will need to be made.

Potential zoning changes in Ravenna-Bryant: Roosevelt Urban Village

On November 9, the City released its Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes proposed changes to zoning in four areas of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. This post is about proposed changes in the part of the neighborhood closest to the Roosevelt light rail station. Future posts will provide information about proposed changes to NE 55th Street, the Ravenna NE 65th Street business district, and to 35th Avenue NE.

What are MHA and EIS?

MHA is a new policy addressing Seattle’s growth, the need for more housing, and the desire to increase housing and jobs near frequent transit, in line with the City’s urban village strategy.   MHA requires new development to either include affordable housing or contribute to a fund for producing affordable housing. In exchange, the City is increasing zoning capacity, allowing for taller buildings. MHA mostly encourages additional housing capacity in urban villages with easy access to transit.

The EIS identifies and describes potential impacts on the environment that could result from changing zoning associated with MHA policy. Environmental impacts were measured for:

What is proposed for Ravenna-Bryant?

After analyzing environmental impacts, the City came up with “preferred” zoning changes.  The proposed preferred changes in the area of Ravenna-Bryant closest to the Roosevelt light rail station include expanding the Roosevelt Urban Village boundary from 15th Avenue NE to 17th Avenue NE and changing zoning designations as follows:

  • At the east corner of NE 65th Street and 15th Avenue NE, increase capacity from Neighborhood Commercial 2, 40 feet (NC2-40) to Neighborhood Commercial 2, 55 feet (NC2-55);
  • On 15th Ave NE, north of NE 63rd Street and south of NE 68th Street, increase capacity from detached Single Family (SF) to Lowrise 2 (LR2);
  • On the north side of NE 65th Street west of 17th Ave NE, increase capacity from SF to Lowrise 1 (LR1);
  • The remaining urban village expansion area would increase capacity from detached SF to Residential Small Lot (RSL).
Map of proposed changes to the Roosevelt Urban Village.

What do these zoning designations mean?

Residential Small Lots: These areas would remain zoned for detached homes and would allow for property owners to build detached homes for multiple single families on one lot. Examples include skinny houses with the front of each house facing the street; “tandem” houses with one facing the street the other behind it; or “cottages” up to 650 square feet each.

Lowrise 1: Provides a transition between SF areas and multifamily and commercial areas. A mix of housing types similar in scale to detached single family homes such as cottages, rowhouses, and townnhouses are encouraged.

Lowrise 2: Allows for a variety of multifamily housing types in existing multifamily neighborhoods and along arterial streets. A mix of small scale to multifamily housing such as townhouses, rowhouses, and apartments are encouraged.

Neighborhood Commercial: A moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood. Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments. Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.

 

Drawing courtesy of Department of Planning and Development (now the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections)

What’s next?

The MHA EIS is now in the hands of the City Council. After considering the EIS and holding public hearings, they will take action in 2018. Amendments to the official zoning map, amendments to the text of the Land Use Code, and changes to maps and policies of the Comprehensive Plan will need to be made.

The City’s timeline for implementing the MHA policy.

Sunday, November 19: Walk & vigil in remembrance of people killed on NE 65th St in 2017

On February 4, 2017, a Saturday afternoon, this was the scene at NE 65th Street and 20th Avenue NE. Doris Van Allen (age 89) was struck by the driver of a pick-up truck as she walked in the crosswalk. She was taken to the hospital with serious head injuries and later died.

On Sunday, neighbors are invited to remember Doris Van Allen and Junhui Wang (age 26), who was struck and killed as she crossed NE 65th Street at Roosevelt Ave NE on January 26, 2017.

#Fix65th: World Day of Remembrance Memorial Vigil & Walk

WHEN: Sunday, November 19, at noon

WHAT: As part of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, join Councilmember Rob Johnson and neighbors in commemorating the two people killed while crossing NE 65th Street in 2017.

WHERE: Meet at the corner of Roosevelt and NE 65th Street, where a silhouette will be placed in remembrance of Junhui Wang. The group will then walk east on NE 65th Street and place a silhouette on the corner of 20th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street in remembrance of Doris Van Allen.

In 2016, RBCA joined with the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association and NE Seattle Greenways to create the #Fix65th coalition to advocate for changes to NE 65th Street and to make it safer for all who use it.

Design for University Village garage on 25th Ave NE approved by Design Review Board

Last week the City of Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) issued the final recommendation of the Northeast Design Review Board (DRB) for University Village’s (U Village) application for a major phased development.  The application covers the construction of many buildings over an extended period of time (up to 15 years).  The first phase is constructing a seven-story parking garage fronting 25th Ave NE, which will contain approximately 350,000 square feet of parking. The Northeast DRB’s review recommendation pertains only to the first phase.

RBCA has been tracking this project and attended DRB meetings on December 19, 2016 and September 25, 2017 to provide public comment and submit letters highlighting concerns about connectivity to the surrounding neighborhood, retail on 25th Ave NE, pedestrian and bicycle safety, impacts to traffic, and need for coordination by developers in this general vicinity (see earlier posts with RBCA letters). 

The Northeast DRB voted 4-0 to approve U Village’s design for the garage and to proceed with a Master Use Permit application for the project.  The DRB noted that improvement have been made to the following areas of design: 

  • Micro-retail added on 25th Ave NE
  • Pedestrian passageway from 25th Ave NE through the parking garage to the elevator lobby and interior of the Village had been improved
  • Elimination of one additional lane of traffic into the garage from 25th Ave NE
  •  Better modulation of the north and south façades and more terraced plantings to improve the overall massing.

The Northeast DRB requested SDCI to approve two departures from the Land Use Code: 1) the width of curb cuts (decrease from existing 46 ft to proposed 37 ft) and 2) reduce the depth of ground floor commercial space from required 30 ft minimum to proposed 25 ft depth. The DRB conditioned these departures on U Village complying with the following two conditions:

  1. Installation of interpretive signage related to history of Ravenna Creek along the proposed bioswales along 25th Ave NE; and
  2. Incorporating two or more areas along the building side of 25th Ave NE to allow for wider sidewalks so pedestrians can pass in comfort.

The next step for U Village is to obtain a Master Use Permit for the project to proceed. We will continue to track and monitor the project.

RBCA board meets Tuesday, November 7

RBCA Board Meeting

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

 AGENDA

6:30      Welcome & Introductions

6:35      UW Transportation Master Plan for Husky Stadium

6:55      Homeless encampments in Ravenna Park

7:05      Executive Committee Reports

Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

President’s Report

  • New business: Workplans – 2017 review, 2018 draft
  • Old business: Membership Chair vacancy
  • Old business: Better Know A Board Member

7:20      Committee Reports

Land Use Committee

  • University Village garage
  • University Prep expansion
  • DADUs
  • Trailside project

Ravennafest Committee

  • Save the Date: July 14
  • Small Sparks grant & fundraising/membership
  • Next meeting: November 16, 7pm

Transportation Committee

  • #Fix65th
  • NE 50th Street sidewalks

8:00      Reports from associated community groups

  • City University Community Advisory Council – CUCAC
  • NE District Council – NEDC
  • North Precinct Advisory Council – NPAC
  • Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Board

All RBCA meetings are open to everyone. Neighbors are encouraged to participate!

RBCA Land Use Committee comments about proposed University Village 25th Avenue NE garage

On September 25, the Northeast Design Review Board (DRB) held its second Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting on the University Village proposed major phased development. The Land Use Application is to allow five new retail buildings and one, seven-story garage building with retail and parking for 880 vehicles (University Village Major Phased Development). Review includes 10,000 sq. ft. of demolition and the removal of 467 surface parking spaces.

The RBCA Land Use committee has engaged the developer and submitted its second comment letter on the project.  Two RBCA board members attended the EDG meeting to provide public comments for consideration by the DRB. The comments focused on pedestrian and bicycle safety along 25th Ave NE, and the need for developers in this area along and across 25th Ave NE to work together to make the connections between the neighborhoods and the Burke-Gilman trail safer and easier for pedestrians and cyclists. Below is the letter.

September 25, 2017

Michael Dorcy, Planner

Seattle Department Construction Inspections

Re: Project #3025629 4500 25th Ave NE; University Village West Garage

Mr. Dorcy:

The Ravenna-Bryant community is directly impacted by the proposed project, so we have taken great interest in the latest development proposal by U Village.  RBCA submitted comments in December 2016 at the first EDG meeting and now we are submitting new comments about this project, specifically related to the West garage expansion and the impact of traffic on the intersections and circulation of pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles in the context of the significant development that is proposed on both sides of 25th Ave NE in the next couple of years.

We appreciate that the project design has evolved to address some of the concerns raised in our first comment letter, however we still have concerns relating to the public realm along 25th Ave NE and transportation generally.  Further, we greatly appreciate the efforts of the three developers in this area (U Village, Phoenix, and Greystar) to work together to make their developments complement each other and improve the overall circulation and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles. This cooperation is imperative given the redevelopment of these blocks will provide a major opportunity to improve pedestrian orientation along 25th Ave NE and create a safer, more functional multi-modal transportation network in the area.  While 25th Ave NE is a major arterial, it is also a major pedestrian thoroughfare that has more pedestrians and bicycles using it given the connection to the light rail station less than 1 mile away and the access to the regional Burke-Gilman trail.

We list below the following bullet points to summarize our concerns:

  • Pedestrian safety on 25th Ave NE: We have three major concerns about pedestrian access and safety:
  • Garage Ingress/Egress: The DRB Recommendation Packet seems to reflect three travel lanes, including only one left-turn lane onto southbound 25th Ave NE. This is different from the four-lane option in the EDG package. We support SDOT’s position that a four-lane configuration would compromise pedestrian safety at the 47th Street intersection.
  • 49th Street Intersection: The garage entrance will eliminate one of two east-west through-connections that exist today across U Village. The remaining one, 49th Street, already seems like a dangerous access point, as 49th is an off-set intersection and there are three sets of adjacent curb cuts along the east side of 25th (U Village, Office Depot and Jiffy Lube), which present a safety hazard, in our opinion. As more cars seek to make an unprotected left into U Village, either to drop off/pick up passengers, access other garages on site, or fruitlessly search for surface parking, the additional turns will exacerbate the already challenging conditions. This potential diversion of left-hand turns to this intersection does not seem to be assumed in the Transpo report. 
  • Pedestrian experience on 25th Ave NE: We appreciate the micro-retail, which is a modest but appreciated improvement from the EDG design.  We have met with U Village and understand their programmatic and economic challenges with more providing more active street-front uses along 25th Avenue NE. However, there still will be a stretch of more than 200 linear feet from the micro-retail to 49th Street NE without any active uses. Even with the nicely appointed landscapes depicted in the design packet, the combination of arterial traffic and inactivity along the property will make for a challenging pedestrian environment. We encourage U Village to consider how to provide lighting to enhance real and perceived pedestrian safety, and to consider widening the sidewalk to allow for two parties to pass comfortably in light of the lack of eyes on the street in this location.
  • Cumulative traffic impacts from development proposed in this same vicinity:  In addition to the U Village West garage, there are two other proposals going through the EDG phase: 1) Greystar (Project #3027063) and 2) Phoenix Trailside (Project #3027312) projects. The Greystar project proposes 205 units and 140 parking stalls and the Phoenix project proposes 293 units with 286 parking stalls.  Both developments are seeking rezones from C-40 to NC2 65 or 75 and LR3 to NC2-85, respectively.  We think density done well is welcome in an urban village with as many amenities as our Ravenna Bryant neighborhood and we welcome the additional housing options.  However, these are big changes for this area and it will significantly increase the volumes of people and traffic who need to move around safely. According to the transportation study shown on Table 3, the future LOS for 13 of the 20 intersections will be at D, E or F by 2027. Currently the existing baseline shows nine intersections operating at D, E or F at this time.  Anyone driving during commute hours AM or PM peak knows that 25th Ave NE is a parking lot and traffic moves to a crawl.  We are concerned that the additional approximately 311 net new trips during the weekday PM peak hour created by the new garage only adds additional stress.  This does not even account for the increased traffic that the Greystar proposal (Project #3027063) and Phoenix’s Trailside proposal (Project #3027312) will add to the traffic on intersections and on 25th Ave NE.
  • Bicycle Connection along 47th: In part due to the Phoenix project’s pursuit of a street vacation, there is a plan for a bicycle and pedestrian connection that would run from the Burke Gilman Trail to 25th Ave NE along 47th Unfortunately, 47th is offset from the traffic light at the planned garage entrance, creating potential dual crossing of 47th and then 25th Ave NE to reach U Village from the Burke Gilman Trail. We encourage U Village to continue coordinating with Phoenix and Greystar to devise a plan, in conjunction with SDOT, that can meet the U Village’s vehicular access needs while supporting a seamless bicycle and pedestrian connection.

Thank you for considering our comments as you complete your review of University Village’s proposal and please let me know if we can answer any questions or participate in any manner as the process moves forward.

SDOT to host 35th Ave NE paving project open house October 21

Over the past several years, plans have been developed with the goal of creating a safe and pedestrian-friendly experience for neighbors wishing to walk to businesses and services on 35th Avenue NE from NE 55th Street to NE 85th Street.

Future of 35th Avenue NE Plan

Planning for the future of 35th Avenue NE public workshop circa 2014. Photo courtesy of Future of 35th Ave NE blog.

Between 2012 and 2015, the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, the Wedgwood Community Council, and neighbors from both communities worked together to develop a plan, including  design guidelines, for creating a vibrant 35th Avenue NE.

After 3 years of public meetings, field trips, data collection, Coffee Talks, surveying, being awarded a grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoodsselecting a consultant team, hosting public workshops, collecting more data, the Future of 35th Ave NE Plan was released in 2015. The plan contains a streetscape toolkit that includes recommendations for making 35th Avenue NE pedestrian-friendly.

Pedestrian safety improvements along arterial roads

While the RBCA board has focused most of our mobility-related advocacy efforts on improving safety along the NE 65th Street corridor most recently, all arterial roads in the neighborhood have been identified as needing changes to make them safer for all who use them.

In a 2016 survey about neighborhood mobility concerns, pedestrian safety was the primary concern.  The most common complaint regarding pedestrian safety, as well as motorist and biker safety,  was people speeding in their cars along both arterial and residential streets. The second most common complaint was about how difficult it is to cross arterial roads and, interestingly enough, it wasn’t only pedestrians and bikers who identified this as a big problem. Motorists thought it was a problem, too. Reducing the number of speeding cars on arterial roads, like 35th Avenue NE, is one of RBCA’s priorities in our 2017 mobility safety action plan.

Seattle Bike Master Plan

Bike Master Plan in Ravenna-Bryant

The Seattle Bike Master Plan (BMP) was adopted in 2014 and includes changes to 35th Avenue NE. The BMP provides a blueprint for increasing safety features for people who use bicycles to get around the city, including NE Seattle.

On 35th Avenue NE, sharrows (shown as yellow dotted lines in the map to the left) are planned from NE 45th Street to NE 65th Street. From NE 65th Street to NE 75th Street on 35th Avenue NE protected bike lanes (blue line) are included in the plan.

In addition to increasing safety for bikers, bike lanes can reduce the speed at which cars travel and, therefore, increase safety for all who use the road, including motorists.

SDOT paving project

In NE Seattle, 35th Avenue NE is one of streets scheduled for re-paving. According to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), paving is an opportunity to cost-effectively update street designs to promote safety, build features called for in citywide transportation plans (like the BMP), and coordinate with other projects. As part of the 35th Avenue NE paving project, SDOT is taking the opportunity to make planned changes all at once, instead of in a piecemeal manner.  The project includes re-paving most of the road, adding safety improvements, and improving reliability for transit users. Detailed information about the paving project is available online.

SDOT open house

On October 21, starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Messiah Lutheran Church, 7050 35th Ave NE, SDOT will host an open house for neighbors to learn more about the paving project.

SDOT’s conceptual view of changes to be made looking north from the corner of 35th Avenue NE and NE 55th Street.

The meeting will begin with an open house during which attendees will be able to review project boards and ask one-on-one questions.  From 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. those who would like to go on a walking tour will break up into groups and visit either NE 75th St & 35th Ave NE or NE 65th St & 35th Ave NE.

Community members are encouraged to learn more about plans that will guide changes to the 35th Avenue NE corridor within the not-so-distant future. As the population of our city continues to grow, the way people get around the neighborhood is going to change. Now is the time to become familiar with what is planned, think about how the implementation of those plans will change neighborhood mobility safety, and ensure that what is created is sustainable, supports a livable and vibrant community, and meets the needs of a diverse population.

RBCA board meets October 3

The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association board of directors will meet next week. All RBCA meetings are open to anyone interested in participating. Neighbors are encouraged to attend!

RBCA Board Meeting

Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

AGENDA

1. Welcome & Introductions

2. Ravenna/Cowen Park

  • Encampments
  • Drafted letter re: response to opioid crisis

3. Executive Committee Reports

Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

President’s Report

  • Old business: Draft e-vote process
  • Old business: Better Know A Board Member
  • Old business: Membership Chair vacancy
  • New business: Vote – New RBCA CUCAC representative
  • New business: Vote – Endorsement of Ravennafest

4. Committee Reports

Transportation Committee

Land Use Committee

  • University Village garage design review
  • ADUs

5. Reports from associated community groups

  • City University Advisory Council – CUCAC
  • NE District Advisory Council – NEDC
  • North Precinct Advisory Council – NPAC
  • Children’s Standing Community Advisory Council
  • Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Board

What would it look like to walk next to the proposed University Village garage?

A Design Review Board meeting about the proposed 7-story University Village garage on 25th Avenue NE is scheduled for Monday, September 25, 8:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Here are some of the drawings of the latest design proposal from a pedestrian’s point of view.

Drawing of proposed University Village west garage. The people in this image are walking in front of the Office Depot driveway.
Walking south on 25th Avenue NE along the proposed University Village west garage.
Street view of bus stop, micro retail, and pedestrian entrance to the proposed University Village west garage.
Pedestrian passageway from 25th Ave NE through the proposed University Village west garage.
Car, bike, and pedestrian entrances to University Village at the south end of the proposed west garage. (That’s Restoration Hardware on the right.) 

All documents related to the proposed garage are available online under project 3025629. Comments about the garage design may be sent to the Design Review Board at PRC@seattle.gov.

Update: NE 65th Street Vision Zero Project

Between 2012 and April 2017, there were 232 collisions on NE 65th Street, according to information shared by SDOT during an April public meeting. All of the collisions that resulted in serious injuries or deaths involved people walking or biking.  Just last winter, an 80 year-old woman was killed walking across NE 65th Street in the crosswalk by Third Place.

In 2016, RBCA, in partnership with the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association and NE Seattle Greenways, launched the #Fix65th campaign to raise awareness of the safety problems along the NE 65th Street corridor and to call for road improvements. After conducting community outreach and gaining input from neighbors, this summer the Seattle Department of Transportation released final plans for changing the road design.

Below are plans for the area of NE 65th Street between NE Ravenna Blvd and Roosevelt Way NE as well as the section between 12th Ave NE and 20th Avenue NE.

In the Ravenna neighborhood, these are the primary changes. The only change on NE 65th Street east of 20th Avenue NE is the removal of peek parking restrictions.

More information about the project is available on SDOT’s NE 65th Street Vision Zero webpage.

RBCA board meets Tuesday

RBCA Board Meeting

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

 AGENDA

Welcome & Introductions

Executive Committee Reports

  • Treasurer’s Report
  • President’s Report
    • Review of e-vote process
    • Membership Chair?
    • Board vacancies
    • RBCA-sponsored community event
    • Ravenna/Cowen Park encampments, drug use
  • Secretary’s Report:
    • July meeting minutes
    • E-vote results

Committee Reports

  • Transportation Committee
    • #Fix65th update
  • Land Use Committee
    • Trailside update
    • U-Prep expansion

Better know a board member

RBCA representation with other community organizations

  • RBCA representative needed for NPAC
  • City University Advisory Council CUCAC
  • NE District Advisory Council NEDC
  • Children’s Standing Community Advisory Council
  • Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Board

All RBCA board meetings are open to all who are interested. Neighbors are encouraged to participate!

Registration for Night Out ends July 31

National Night Out is an annual event with the goal of increasing public safety by promoting neighborhood connections. This year, Night Out is August 1.

Neighbors are encouraged to plan block parties and can close their streets to traffic for the evening. To do so, register with the City by Monday at 5:00 p.m.

Want to see if there are events planned on your block? Check out the online map to find out.

Need materials for your event? Publicity materials are also available online.